At 1:30 this afternoon, thousands of people gathered in Times Square to rally and march for a world without nuclear weapons. Despite an attempted car bomb attack the night before in Times Square (and the 90 degree heat during the day), people still showed up in huge numbers, and carried on with nothing to fear.
When the rally started at 2:00, both sides of 7th avenue were lined with people jammed packed together for at least five or six blocks down. At the stage set up on the corner of 42nd street, prominent people from the disarmament community here in the U.S. and abroad gave rousing speeches to pump up the crowd. The large contingent of Japanese activists were probably the most vocal, waiving their signs energetically and chanting “no nuclear weapons.”
Shortly after 3:30, the march began down 42nd street towards 3rd Avenue. With the assistance of the NYPD, the road was cleared for the thousands to make their way to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters.
After marching with the masses (click here to see video of march), I moved on ahead to the Plaza to prepare the FAS booth for the upcoming visitors.
Soon Dag Hammarskjold Plaza came to life. While some were so tired from marching that they made a direct line for one of the many benches spread throughout the Plaza, others visited the countless NGO’s under tents and at tables. At one end of the Plaza, a stage with live music was set up for people to listen, and dance for peace.
By 7:00, the International Day of Action had come to an end. During the two hours I spent at the FAS booth at the festival I met many very interesting people, all who deeply cared about nuclear non-proliferation and the peace movement.
After spending three days in New York City participating in the NPT Pre-conference and the International Day of Action, I come away with a great sense of hope. While the path to zero nuclear weapons won’t be achieved in just a year or ten years, the world will reach zero. I know this because as long as a commitment like I witnessed this weekend remains strong, active, and continues to spread — this change is inevitable.
Thank you for reading my coverage over the last three days. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Please continue to read our coverage from the NPT Review Conference on the FAS Strategic Security blog. And again, thank you for your continued support of FAS.
I will leave you with some pictures of the International Day of Action: